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Origin of organic halogen in boreal lakes

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Old (>100 years, situated below 15 cm depth) sediment layers, of two humic forest lakes contained 400 to 600 mg of solvent soluble organic halogen (EOX) (kg C)-1. This was two to three fold more than in the most recent layers at the depth of 0 to 10 cm. Sediment accumulation of EOX in humic forest lakes correlated positively with the sediment accumulation of organic matter. Lake water concentration of adsorbable organic halogen (AOX) correlated positively with water concentration of total organic carbon (TOC) and with the water colour in the different strata, seasons and lakes. These facts suggest that organic halogen in boreal humic lakes originated from the drainage area. Paleolimnological study of diatom remains showed that sediment concentration of organic halogen correlated negatively with the historical pH of the lake water column. This fact supports a view that the presence of organic halogen was promoted by haloperoxidase type of enzyme, which is most active at low pH (3.5 to 4). The dates of forest management events (clear cutting, prescribed burning) matched with the observed changes in lake water column historical pH and decrease in sediment content organic halogen in dated sediment layers. Clear cutting and prescribed burning are known to increase soil pH. This may decrease the intrinsic formation of organic halogens in soil, thereby decreasing the flow of organic halogens from the runoff area to the forest lake. Our results support a conclusion that changes in natural organically bound halogen in the sediment were promoted by acidification, forest fires and forest management in the drainage area. The organic halogen content in the most polluted layer of the pulp mill recipient sediment was 10 to 100 fold as compared to forest lake sediments.

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Correspondence to Kimmo P. Suominen or Mikko Liukkonen or Mirja Salkinoja-Salonen.

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Suominen, K.P., Liukkonen, M. & Salkinoja-Salonen, M. Origin of organic halogen in boreal lakes. J Soils & Sediments 1, 2 (2001). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02986462

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  • Adsorbable organic halogen (AOX)
  • AOX
  • EOX
  • forest lake
  • forest management
  • haloperoxidase
  • organic halogen
  • research articles
  • runoff
  • sediments
  • solvent soluble organic halogen (EOX)